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More drivers caught using phones

Almost 10,000 drivers were caught using their mobile phones while behind the wheel during the first three months of this year.

The figure suggests an increase in detection with records showing 28,000 motorists apprehended for the offence for the whole of last year.

John Twomey, Garda assistant commissioner in charge of the force's National Traffic Bureau, said the prevalence of phone use while driving is unacceptable.

"We all know how distracting mobile phones can be in any situation, except in the car it can have fatal consequences," he said.

"Driving requires 100% concentration - it's as simple as that."

Gardai will mount a countrywide operation on Thursday and Friday to catch offending motorists and warn others of the dangers involved.

They say using a mobile while driving increases the risk of an accident four-fold.

Offenders face two penalty points and a 60 euro fine payable within 28 days, which, if late, increases to four penalty points and 90 euro.

"In the first three months of the year nearly 10,000 drivers have been detected holding a mobile phone whilst driving," said Mr Twomey.

"This is not acceptable or conducive to road safety.

"The choice is yours. To avoid penalty points, a fine or worse, be involved in a road traffic collision, always put the phone away when driving."

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